…Govt sues for peace
TENSION is mounting in Umuona, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State over political maneuvers by a foursome allegedly plotting to unseat the town’s traditional ruler, Igwe Humphrey Ejesieme.
Described as an offshoot of subterranean machinations of these four men working under the tutelage of an indigene of the town parading himself as President General of Umuona Progressive Union (UPU), Mr. Kenneth Okoli to sabotage Igwe Ejesieme’s untiring efforts at sustaining the tempo of progress and development in the town since his reign, concerned indigenes of the community said the four men were plotting to ultimately unseat the traditional ruler.
One of such concerned stakeholder and former youth leader of Umuona, Mr. Chukwuma Ndubuilo, said these plots and conspiracies began last year but many people are now worried that Okoli and his cohorts do not want to let sleeping dogs lie.
Explaining that Okoli is needlessly undercutting and witch-hunting Igwe Ejesieme by striving to instigate the people against him, Nnabuilo regretted that Umona people are being cast in bad light despite their high reverence for the monarch who the people continue to stand by because of he has continued to deploy his wealth to touch many people’s lives, especially the indigent.
According to him, this is why well-meaning indigenes of Umona mobilised for a peaceful protest in Government House, Awka on Tuesday, during which they solicited Gov. Willie Obiano’s intervention in the matter before it sparked off a crisis in the town.
Speaking on the matter, former President-General of Umona, Mr. Ceasar Chinegbu said unless the state government swiftly moves into the matter to stop Okoli and his men from stoking instability by harassing the people of Umona, there may be total breakdown of law and order in the town.
Regretting that matters nearly came to their heads when some people, who could no longer seat on the fence and watch the unfolding trouble, wanted to physically confront Okoli and his men, he said it was only a timely intervention of Igwe Ejesieme and other peace loving elders in the town that persuaded them to shun violence.
Speaking during a telephone interview, Igwe Ejesieme explained the matter in similar vein with his people.
According to the royal father, he has no grouse with anyone “not when I had worked with two past presidents-general,” not even Kenneth Okoli and his three cohorts he named as “one Ifeanyi Oguejiofor, Anthony Okoli and Ernest Onyejekwe, who are seeking to destablise the community and reverse the gains already made these nine years.”
Wondering how he offended them, Igwe Ejesieme recalled that he only advised Okoli to shelve his plans to amend the town’s constitution through backdoor tactics for which “Okoli and the three others foment trouble, sabotaging communal efforts, including annual traditional rites and festivals.”
According to the monarch, “Okoli first but fruitlessly sought to sabotage the town’s annual New Yam Festival in August, 2021, by organising a pallarel event in the civic centre during which some youth nearly chased them out” but for Igwe’s wise counsel. Okoli later recovered from the shame to regroup again on December 24, and hired outsiders to disrupt the town’s annual children’s Christmas party during which we avail the little ones and their parents with gift items, including money and bags of rice. He followed this up by seeking to sabotage our ofalla celebration on December 30th but of course, he failed woefully as turnout of Umona people and our neighbours and well-wishers in mammoth crowd showed that my kingdom is solidly behind me.”
The monarch lamented that “Okoli is doing these hatchet jobs just because we told him that any constitutional amendment without inputs from Igwe-in-Council and subjected to approval of Umona on village-by-village basis is not only suspicious but also capable of instigating crisis in the community. Yet, he does not want to listen because one Barr Ifeanyi Oguejiofor, who works in the state Ministry of Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, is throwing his weight around and boasting that he can do anything using his position. That’s why Okoli is threatening fire and brimstone on Umuona, even when he did not win the election he claims to have won.”
It will be recalled that a delegation of Umona people staged a peaceful protest in Government House, Awka, on Tuesday, chanting solidarity songs in support of Igwe Ejesieme and carrying placards with inscriptions such as: ‘Umuona wants caretaker committee,’ ‘Kenneth Okoli don’t change Umuona Constitution illegally’ and Igwe Humphrey Ejesieme deserves his respects’, among others.
Addressing the protesters, Special Adviser to Governor Willie Obiano on Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs said government would soon address the matter to avert any unpleasant situation in Umona.
Every effort made to get Okoli and his colleagues including Oguejiofor’’s reactions proved abortive as at press time.